Ryan Jordan - Greenwheel

September 9, 2005

Tell me a little about Greenwheel.

We're a four piece band from St. Charles, Missouri. St. Louis basically. We've been together since 1998. We have a little bit of a different lineup now. We have a different drummer that we've had for almost a year now and we are a four piece. We used to be a five piece. We were on Island/Def Jam from 2000 to about 2004. We left them last year after we finished our second record. They had a big corporate change as far as the label went and we felt really vulnerable so we got out of there. We lost a drummer and got a new one which we're really excited about that. We've narrowed down to a four piece and the music we're writing now, we all feel really comfortable with. Basically since 1998 we've been together and that's really all we've been doing. A few jobs to keep us afloat financially here and there. Being 25 now, I think we've really matured into good songwriters and educated ourselves in the industry after being dragged through the dirt once. I think we're ready to take it on full force now.

I don't think people manage to go through a career in a band without getting fucked over a few times.

Yeah, of course. I'm just glad that I'm 25 and I've already been through it. It could have been a lot worse. I could have been a lot older and had that happen to me. It broke our spirits but at the same time we took it as a learning experience and moved forward which sometimes you have a hard time moving forward after something devastating like that happens. I think us leaving Island knowing that it was a good thing for our career was a big part of it. It's not like we just got dropped because they didn't like us anymore or we weren't doing anything good. When you have such a big corporate shift like that, they have to weed out and just keep the big ones. I think the fact that Thursday didn't do very well on Island was a big hit to them because they put a lot of money into that project but they held onto Hoobastank. They've got Fallout Boy. Good luck to everybody over there for sure. It wasn't a good home for us.

Usually when they have a corporate change like that, you come in and don't recognize anyone anymore.

Everyone that worked for us in every single department of the record label was new. We hadn't sold a million records so we weren't on the top priority of their list. It's all worked out for the best. There's a positive side to everything.

I think it's kind of hard to sell a million records these days. You might have been able to do that back in the '80s.

That's all the record labels are looking for though. They don't like to admit that it seems. They're holding on for dear life too it seems. The industries are with all the Internet stuff these days.

I like the Internet because you can cut out the middle man and cut costs a bit.

A lot. We're touring on our own right now on our own budget. We can afford gas which is shocking these days. We have a place to lay our heads. We're riding around in a 15 passenger van with just five of us so it's comfortable. We're not living a lavish life but I'm on the road playing music every day. I can't complain.

Tell me about the CD that you guys released.

That was in 2002. We just finished one last year too which we can't sell because Island owns the recordings but we own the songs. We can re-record everything and sell it but since we don't have the budget right now to really re-record everything, we're just giving it away. We're just burning our own copies and giving it to people because when we play our shows, we play stuff from Soma Holiday which is our Island release record. People know those songs but they don't know the other songs that we're playing which we recorded as 16 songs in L.A. and we play a lot of those live. People come in and only know a third of the set. They want to know what all this new stuff is and want to hear it so we put it on the Internet. We put it on My Space and we're just giving it away when you buy a piece of merchandise or give money to the Red Cross. It's helped a lot because people now know those songs too so they come and they feel more familiar and there's five brand new songs that we play that they don't know because they're not released yet. Both the records that we made, the first one I think was really heavily influenced by our influences. We were 20 years old and we were pretty new at doing it all. We'd been doing it for three years and we were very fortunate to have a good producer and Island took good care of us at the beginning. We had a really good experience doing that. We learned a whole lot. We've matured as songwriters. In 2004 when we did the second one, I feel like we really stepped into our own shoes instead of our influences' shoes. I think you always have to be open to change and progress.

When you say that they own the recordings, are they planning on doing anything with that stuff?

No, it's going to sit on a shelf.

Why don't they just give it to you?

Because they paid for it.

Yeah, but if it just sits on a shelf...

You're going to have to call corporate office on that one.

That's kind of fucking stupid. So who are you guys out with on the road now?

With a band called Upside. They're from Denton, Texas but I think they're in Oklahoma City right now. That's where they're based right now. They're all from Denton I think. Relapse from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Relapse we've done about two or three months with and Upside joined us, this will be our third show with them. It's real fun to have the same bands out with you every show because you can build a camaraderie. Everybody helps each other out. You donít really have new faces coming in every day. At the end of the night you get to know everybody of the bands that are playing but when youíre on the road with the same bands, itís really easy to help each other out. You build a family. You start hanging out with the other guys when you get sick of your guys.

How long have you guys been out?

This stint, we've only been out for a week but we were out for about a month and a half before that and about three weeks before that. We've only had our drummer for a little under a year so we spent a lot of time regrouping and getting ourselves back together. Taking a little bit of a break and figuring out what we wanted to do. We lost some members so we had to regroup and I think it was a pretty quick transition for us to be out on the road for seven or eight months after all that happened to us. We got dropped in June of last year and in that long we're already shopping for another label. We've already got interests in other labels. We're on the road again doing pretty decent tours with 100 or 200 or 300 kids every night.

You think you'll be able to re-record your songs pretty soon?

We're writing new stuff now that we're a four piece but we're going to go back and dig out those. Maybe rearrange some of them and put them on a record because those are great songs there. We don't just want to throw them on the backburner. We're going to have to dig back into them. What we're giving the labels right now is all brand new stuff because we want to let them know what we're representing now. All of the stuff that we did on the last record was with the five piece with the other members. We're probably going to rework them a little bit and put more into what we're doing now.

Why did you decide to scale down to a four piece?

Honestly, it was a difference of opinions as far as our other guitar player went and it wasn't a negative thing in any way whatsoever. We're still good friends with him. We had different interests. He was really into producing and making beats for rap songs and stuff like that. He's very, very talented at it so he's focusing his energy on that and we became a four piece and we decided to just stay like this. We played a couple of shows like it and we really enjoyed it. There's a lot more open space in the songs now. There's a lot more clarity. It's a lot more simple. I play guitar on a few songs now while I'm singing so it just worked. That's why we decided to stay like that. There's more room in the van when you're a four piece.

Less mouths to feed and more money.

We split all of our money equally so instead of 20 percent per person, it's 25 now. That said, there's a plus side to everything.

How long are you guys going to be out on this tour?

We get done the 26th of this month. Our bass player is getting married the first of October so he's going to be in Fiji for the rest of October. It will be pretty quiet during October but who knows. November and December are kind of hard times to tour because of the holidays but we'll see.

Any other thoughts or comments?

Thank you for the opportunity for the interview.

Greenwheel